The Forum of Commissioners for Finance in Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to guarantee that all proceeds generated from the elimination of fuel subsidy are allocated to the Federation Account.
David Olofu, the outgoing Chairman of the Forum, reiterated this request on Thursday evening in Abuja.
Olofu, who previously served as the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning in Benue State, emphasized the importance of directing all accruals from the removal of fuel subsidy to the Federation Account.
Expressing their appreciation to President Bola Tinubu for the removal of subsidy, Olofu stated that, as financial experts, the Forum shared the same desire as many Nigerians for this decision.
Olofu said “We will like to sincerely commend the President for having that political will to do that first day in office.That is what we had been yearning for. He came, his first day in office, he was able to achieve that which we have always asked for,”
Regarding the management of funds obtained from the subsidy, Olofu emphasized that the Constitution clearly stipulates that all revenues belonging to the federation should be deposited into the federation account.
He stressed “Nobody has any authority whatsoever to deduct any amount from federation revenue. So, I will align myself with the position of the Constitution and recommend that all the accruals go into the federation account and let it be disbursed from the federation account”.
He further stated that the Federal Government should devise policies and programs to tackle the challenges faced by Nigerians as a direct consequence of the rise in fuel prices resulting from the removal of the subsidy.
Continuing, he said he firmly believes that the President possesses the necessary capability and expertise to address these challenges effectively and has already taken the initial step by proposing a wage hike for workers.
However, he said it should be done in collaboration with the sub-national governments, as they employ a significant portion of the civil servants in the country.”
He added that he is confident that he is on the right path. And, in addition to the wage increase, we infrastructure issues must also be looked into as he believes that comprehensive infrastructure development in the country will not only enhance the standard of living but also reduce the cost of living.”
Olofu therefore implored Nigerians to exercise patience, emphasizing that the long-term advantages of the President’s actions far exceed the temporary difficulties individuals are currently experiencing.
Wale Akinterinwa, the incoming Chairman of the Forum, expressed his appreciation for his predecessor, acknowledging that Olofu had performed admirably in his leadership role within the forum.
He stated that Olofu has truly taken the forum to a significantly higher level than when he assumed leadership. Nonetheless, he will strive to build upon the foundation he has laid.
He added that he is committed to maintaining the positive relationships he has fostered with key revenue-generating agencies, including the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.”
Akinterinwa, the Commissioner of Finance for Ondo State, reiterated that the elimination of fuel subsidy was a long overdue matter.
His words: “I commend the President for having the courage to immediately remove the fuel subsidy as he was sworn. Well, we are going to feel the pain we are feeling in the short run but in the long run, it is in the best interest of everybody.”
Mohammed Shehu, the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), praised the forum for its dedicated approach in addressing the matter of the federation account.
He said “We hope that as the years go by, the agitation on federal might or federal imposition on a lot of things would become a thing of the past.
He also said that the removal of fuel subsidies was good for the economy.
Shehu urged states to ensure proper utilization of the funds allocated to them, emphasizing the importance of running an efficient federation and creating job opportunities for Nigerians.
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